Solomon’s Boneyard iPhone game an exercise in twitch wizardry

Sep 24, 2010
Games

Solomon’s Boneyard is, at its very essence, a survival horror game. Not in the way that console favorite Resident Evil is, where you have to horde ammo and advance through a zombie-infested town, but in the sense that this is a horror app where the best you can do is survive. There is no winning […]

Solomon’s Boneyard is, at its very essence, a survival horror game. Not in the way that console favorite Resident Evil is, where you have to horde ammo and advance through a zombie-infested town, but in the sense that this is a horror app where the best you can do is survive.

There is no winning in Solomon’s Boneyard. You’ll choose one of four different wizards, each with a different main weapon (one favors freezing the zombies, while another zaps them with electricity, for instance), camp out in a graveyard, and attack endless hordes of undead.

Some of the undead will just lurch into you, while others will throw arrows or fire, but regardless, they will never stop coming.

While that might not sound like the most appealing game, Solomon’s Boneyard makes things interesting by giving the game a bit of an RPG feel by allowing players to upgrade one item each time they level up. You’re given three options each time you hit a new level. Sometimes, they’ll be increases to your magic or health bars, or increases to your first and secondary weapons’ strength.

It’s this upgrade system that can be most fascinating. If you know you like to keep your weapon on autofire, it might benefit you more to upgrade your magic’s rate of increase, but then again you’ll need all the health you can get, so why not just get the health upgrade? These strategic choices will ultimately help decide how long you can survive in this world.

For your pleasure, you’ll eventually earn the option of picking three new characters, though I’ve actually been unable to progress that far myself.

Visually, Solomon’s Boneyard looks good enough. The weapon animations are the most appealing visual in the game, although the cemetery design is hardly ugly. Solomon’s Boneyard does have an odd visual tick – rotating shadows. The shadows around trees and tombstones in the game seem to just rotate around the object depending on where you’re standing, which looks sort of silly, but that’s not a dealbreaker.

My only real complaint with this otherwise very fun game is that there are no instructions at all while you’re playing. There is a system of gold collection in Solomon’s Boneyard that would help, if you knew it before you began to play. Because there’s no explanation of how this works, I just realized it shortly before writing the review by looking at the app store description.

It seems strange that the game wouldn’t have some sort of brief text tutorial or help screen, but I suppose the rest of the game is so obvious it seemed unnecessary.

Regardless, Solomon’s Boneyard might be my new favorite app game. I haven’t been able to put it down, as attempting to top your longest survival time becomes quite the fun challenge to undertake. If you enjoy zombies and action/adventure games, Solomon’s Boneyard hits all the right notes.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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